Rewarding failure is destroying SA

THE attempt to come to a financial settlement with Hawks head Anwa Dramat is the latest in a number of cases in which people have been paid to leave because they have failed to please “Number One” or proved to be incompetent.

Others have already made the point that an exit payment would circumvent a ruling by the Constitutional Court. It is the minister saying: “I can’t fire you but I can pay you for a letter of resignation.”

There are other issues as well.

In the public service, we have a regulated environment with standard conditions of employment and retirement rules. Moving outside of these rules to make special arrangements for a particular individual is legally questionable.

If silence is expected as part of the settlement, then the matter becomes much more serious. Is it legal to use taxpayers’ money to buy the silence of former employers? Then there is a moral issue — the fairness to other workers. Is it fair to use funds that should pay for work done by good employees to finance golden handshakes ? Imagine what that will do to staff morale.

Even worse is the precedent it sets for other departing public servants who now know that they can “sell” a letter of resignation. It opens the door for blackmail.

Handsome rewards for failed or unwanted executives in the public service or the likes of Eskom and South African Airways are destroying this country. Jamming the signals or editing the minutes will not help. We can smell the rot.

Janine Myburgh
President, Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry